OCHA Mission Statement:
- Mobilize and coordinate effective and principled humanitarian action in partnership with national and international actors in order to alleviate human suffering in disasters and emergencies.
- Advocate the rights of people in need.
- Promote preparedness and prevention.
- Facilitate sustainable solutions.
WHAT IS OCHA?
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
is part of the United Nations Secretariat and is led by the Under-Secretary
General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos. Established in 1998 by the UN Secretary General, OCHA is responsible for bringing together humanitarian actors to ensure a coherent response to emergencies.
From offices in over 30 countries around the world , more than 2000 specialized and dedicated OCHA staff work to ensure that millions of people who are affected by conflict and disaster receive the emergency assistance they urgently need. In line with UN General Assembly Resolutions 46/182 (1991) and 58/114 (2004), OCHA works to ensure that human suffering is addressed wherever it is found, with priority given to the most urgent cases of distress. We deliver our mandate through coordinating operational responses, developing global policy, advocating on behalf of people in need, collecting, analysing and disseminating critical information on humanitarian needs and helping to mobilize and manage funding for humanitarian responses around the world.
WHAT IS OCHA’S ROLE IN THE OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY?
OCHA’s Country Office in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) was established in 2002 to support international efforts to respond to the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the oPt. Since that time, OCHA has worked to ensure a coordinated and effective response to humanitarian needs stemming from the conflict and occupation and also from natural disasters or extreme weather events.
Although there has been a reduction in the levels of violence in recent years, many Palestinians continue to have humanitarian needs that are created by ongoing violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, including threats to life, liberty and security, restrictions on access and movement of people and goods to and within the oPt, and the risk of forced displacement. OCHA continues to work to support a comprehensive and effective response to these humanitarian needs and is prepared to support response to unforeseen emergencies in the region including natural and man-made disasters – such as the Mount Carmel fires in northern Israel in 2010 and the winter storm in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 2013.
WHAT DOES OCHA DO TO DO SUPPORT HUMANITARIAN COORDINATION IN THE OPT?
We work with a range of operational partners on the ground, including UN agencies, international and local non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, to assess the needs of people affected by conflict and disasters across the region. We facilitate coordination between the many humanitarian organizations to ensure that these needs are addressed as quickly as possible through the provision of food, water and sanitation, emergency shelter and other emergency relief. We support annual planning of the Humanitarian Country Team (the forum of international and national humanitarian organizations operating in the oPt) through development of the Consolidated Appeal and annual contingency plans. We also support negotiations with the Israeli, Palestinian and other authorities in the region to facilitate access for humanitarian organizations operating in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip – ensuring that they and their relief items are able to reach communities who need assistance quickly and safely. For more information, please visit the website of the Access Coordination Unit.
OCHA oPt works with various humanitarian donor countries to ensure that funds are available quickly to enable aid to reach the people who urgently need it. OCHA encourages donors to support the Consolidated Appeal Process , ensuring consistent funding for humanitarian projects implemented by partners. OCHA also administers the Emergency Response Fund which is used to provide assistance to people affected by unforeseen emergencies and to fill funding gaps in the annual humanitarian response plan.
OCHA oPt provides a variety of information management services to support the humanitarian response. These include maps showing the locations of vulnerable communities, collating data on their needs, helping identify gaps in response and collating data relating to incidents of violence and the access and movement of people and essential supplies.
We promote adherence amongst the humanitarian community in the oPt to the core humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and operational independence – principles that are critical to ensuring that assistance is able to reach the most vulnerable populations in a safe and timely manner. We also help humanitarian organisations to implement global humanitarian policy on key issues such as forced displacement and help develop common positions and practice such as on access and movement of humanitarian staff.
In the oPt, as elsewhere in the world, OCHA speaks out on behalf of people in need. We aim to raise awareness of humanitarian needs, how they can be addressed in the immediate term and, importantly, how they can be prevented in future. Through both public and private channels of communication we disseminate factual information and analysis on the humanitarian situation to a range of stakeholders including the Israeli and Palestinian authorities, UN member states, local and international media, the humanitarian community and to communities affected by the humanitarian situation in the oPt. OCHA oPt seeks regular dialogue with the Israeli and Palestinian authorities at various levels to promote respect for international humanitarian and human rights law, including to protect the civilian population from violence and to facilitate the provision of assistance to those who need it.
DOES OCHA IMPLEMENT HUMANITARIAN PROJECTS OR DIRECTLY PROVIDE RELIEF ASSISTANCE?
OCHA does not implement humanitarian projects or provide relief. OCHA coordinates the response of operational organisations, including UN agencies and NGOs – ensuring that aid reaches the people who need it quickly and effectively. OCHA helps make sure funding is made available by donor countries to support humanitarian operations.
HOW IS OCHA FUNDED?
OCHA is funded through voluntary contributions from a wide range of countries.
OCHA oPt also receives ear-marked contributions from.
See also: OCHA oPt page in OCHA in 2012 and 2013